Located in the heart of the city, with easy access by public transport, when required, we are the longest established Jewish community in St Albans, and in fact the oldest in Hertfordshire. And we are fortunate enough to have our own purpose-built shul building, just around the corner from the City station.
Our community is growing steadily, but with a noticeable upsurge in recent years – in fact, our membership has doubled in the last five years, as more people discover the delights of living in or near a historic city set among gorgeous countryside yet with easy access to London, whether for work or pleasure. Our membership – now pushing the 300 mark – once heavily weighted towards the older end of the spectrum, now embraces more and more young families, with programmes and activities to appeal to all ages. Yet, while we are large enough to provide you with everything you need to enjoy the richness that Jewish life offers, we are not so large that we can’t recognise and care for each individual member. And in a small community, it’s very easy to make new friends.
In fact, our members aren’t just Albanians. A significant proportion of our members are drawn to us from other areas of Hertfordshire – Radlett, Bushey, Borehamwood, Hatfield and Hemel Hempstead for example; others have joined us from neighbouring Bedfordshire in the north and NW London in the south; together, they have transformed St Albans United Synagogue into a regional hub.
Our reputation as a particularly warm, caring and friendly community is well-founded. Here, you can rely on being not just an anonymous face in the crowd – your participation in our services and any of our other communal activities is encouraged and appreciated. Our regular Shabbat and festival services are welcoming, whatever your level of knowledge or observance. There is always a seat with your name on it, whether you come every Shabbat or just once or twice a year, and since the shul is too small for anyone to hide at the back and remain unnoticed, you will always be greeted with a cheery smile. Visitors will often receive an Aliyah, a friendly chat and an introduction to fellow-congregants. Our guests – friends and family attending a simcha, perhaps – invariably comment on the wonderfully special atmosphere they encounter here: a feeling that its members actually enjoy attending shul rather than regard it as a duty. And our stylish and halachically-compliant mechitza allows all our congregants to remain at the same level to ensure maximum participation and enjoyment of the services.
But a shul isn’t just about services. Our rabbi’s vision of the community is that it is a buffet table, offering something for everyone – providing a range of social and educational activities to suit all tastes and inclinations.
To discover more about these, please take a look at the following pages.